Looking back on calving – John van der Goes

Seems like just yesterday that I wrote my last blog, I guess that comes with age as I remember my parents saying the same thing.

What’s been happening here?

We had our first herd test last Thursday and got the results on Friday. I was very pleased that there were no cows in the millionaires’ club. In fact, the highest cow had a count of 680 and only five were above 150. It seems the effort we put in reducing the count last year was worth it, especially since we have only had three clinical mastitis cases so far. I’m not celebrating too much yet though, as last year we had most of our clinical cases after November. So I will wait till the New Year to see how we get on. It looks like we will carry on with using a combination dry treatment (dry cow plus teat seal).

The first of our fodder beet paddocks is planted and the next two have been sprayed out. Had the usual rush to get the first paddock ready as I was trying to work in with the neighbour to have the planter here at the same time. I want to get the next two planted before the end of next week. Quite looking forward to seeing how it turns out as I have talked to a few people now who planted beet last year and are planting again this year because it went so well. I decided to plant an extra paddock as I usually plant three in chicory and the long range forecast is for a dry summer. This should give over a hundred days of feeding fodder beet.

JVG fodder beet

My last cow calved on Friday so I have been reflecting on how things went. Overall I’m quite pleased. The heifers were the best I’ve ever had, both in calving rate and ease of breaking in. The cows calved a bit slower than last year which reflects the poorer submission rate. Hence production is down a bit, but we are now catching up. Some of the production drop is also due to holding the cows a lot harder during the early part of calving because covers were down and I didn’t want to feed too much supplement.

JVG cows2

We are now just about embarrassed with grass because I have held the rotation out and also kept putting nitrogen on. So now we have silage ready to cut both at home and at the runoff. I hope to get the first paddocks done this week and then will see if the other paddocks that are earmarked will be cut or not.

I’m still trying to wiggle in a fishing trip or two, Maybe even a sleep in as well, but with mating coming around quickly the sleep ins don’t look like they will eventuate. I will settle for a few afternoons on the water while someone else (my wife) milks. I have managed the odd bike ride (some on the trainer, which I dislike) and now plan to get out regularly to build up fitness for a fun ride in November. Had to brush cobwebs and dust off the bike to go for a ride yesterday.


  • Nice picture of what happens on your farm John! Thanks for the update.

  • Hallo John ,I reply from way down South just North of Invercargill .It is great to read whats been happening on your farm and how well everything is coming together !Your readiness and being well prepared is very encouraging ,I believe that is so important as a dairy farmer .
    I share-milked in Morrinsville and also in Putaruru and love to read whats happening in that part of the country.
    We have had a very wet ,cold winter and spring sofar ,(with 45 mm again last night) ,normally we are one month behind with the North Island but it looks more like 6 weeks this year .A bit of sun and warmth will do wonders .
    My bike has been collecting cop-webs as well but I’am like you keen to participate in November.
    Greetings and thank you for sharing your farm data , Mark

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